We were invited to the wedding of one of my best friends this month in Carlow, close to the Kilkenny border. I have two small children (22 months and just turned 7 months) so babysitting is always a challenge for weddings! My parents agreed to mind for us but as we are based in Kenmare, Co. Kerry and my parents live in South County Dublin and the wedding was in Carlow, we needed to find somewhere to stay that would be convenient to all.
Anyway, the first place I always look is on our own website dreamireland.com. What I needed was a house with at least 4 bedrooms (we moved the baby out of our room months ago and there’s no chance he is getting back in there with us and I’m not yet confident enough to put the two boys in the same room for fear of one waking the other just when we are settling into peaceful nights of unbroken sleep!). So the place that hopped out at me was The Inch at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. We have only had this fabulous property on our books at Dream Ireland for a few months and I had yet to go and visit it so it was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with the one stone (the fact that it is one of the nicest and most luxurious properties on our website helped sway my decision too!).
So the arrangement was made – Mum and Dad were thrilled as they love Mount Juliet and are Golf fanatics and it co-incided with my Dad’s birthday so we were going to be able to celebrate over lunch the day after the wedding.
As this is not one of our pet-friendly properties (click here for details on our pet friendly properties in Ireland) the dog had to be dropped into the kennels in Kenmare before we left. We hit the road at about 12 noon – very early for us, be we were excited about the prospect of staying somewhere so nice for the weekend and these days we don’t get away much – and arrived at Mount Juliet at around 3.30pm after a few minor diversions along the way (we don’t follow instructions too well!). We were greeted by Lorna at the house after texting her on our way to give her an eta. She took the time to show us around the (massive) house which took a while as there just seemed to be rooms everywhere and then she showed us the operating instructions for all the appliances and TVs and stuff and left us as it.
As soon as she walked out the door, we both grinned at eachother and flopped down onto the fabulous waterbed in what we had decided was “our” bedroom! The next hour was spent chasing our 22 month old around the house and picking up all potential missiles, breakables, battering rams etc and “safeguarding” the house as best as possible. What’s great about The Inch though is that it is clearly a well-loved and lived-in family home so you wouldn’t be terrified of letting your kids loose (not like if you were staying in a luxury hotel). The sitting room had a great big TV with all the Sky channels so we put on Mickey Mouse and it was like being at home with the kids! Mum and Dad arrived about an hour later and my husband delighted in showing them around “our” house! I’m not sure how thrilled they were when we showed them their bedroom for the weekend - beautiful double bedroom with ensuite bathroom and doors opening out onto the patio at the back of the house overlooking the River – as it was sandwiched between the bedrooms on either side assigned to the kids! As they had agreed to mind, we had decided to take full advantage of the situation and take the master bedroom on the third floor and put them on the first floor!!!
The house has it’s own lift – much to my toddler’s delight – and was great for hauling the bags up to our room and down to Mum and Dad’s and the kids rooms. We had brought along our own travel cots as the kids are used to sleeping in them when we go to stay in Dublin, but there was a highchair there for us to use.
We brought most of our own food and wine but my husband and I headed into Thomastown, the closest town, once Mum and Dad got settled in, and picked up some essentials in town (there is a big Supervalu just outside the town and a Day Break shop in the centre of town) along with a Chinese take away for us all. There are other take-aways in town and Lorna had left us contact details for a lady who will make home cooked meals and drop them out to the house to you (sure why not? You’re on your holidays!)
When the kids were in bed, we all settled in to eat our dinner and watch a movie in the cinema downstairs – yes, I did say cinema!! There is a lovely homely lounge area downstairs with a big screen and projector – we were just delighted with ourselves!
We all had a relatively early night and next morning got up, washed and sterilised the bottles, cooked up lunch and dinner for my eldest (these jobs still have to be done even if you are on holidays but it is great to be able to do them in a proper, fully equipped kitchen). My husband insisted on cooking up a full breakfast (it’s just his “thing” he likes to do as man of the house). Again, it was great to all be sitting around in our pyjamas eating our breakfast and to be able to let the kids loose rather than having to all get dressed and try and restrain them in a hotel restaurant for breakfast.
After the clean up, we got showered (in the biggest shower I have ever been in with the most ginormous shower head ever) and dressed in our dressing room off our bedroom (we were starting to get used to this by now!) and at 12.30 we headed off for the day to the wedding, secure in the knowledge that my parents and our kids were going to be perfectly happy and had everything they could possibly need for the day.
While we were gone, the rest of them went out walking around the estate – perfect for pushing a buggy and safe enough to let toddlers run around. There were horses and foals to admire down at the Stud which forms part of the Estate. Mum went over for a swim in the leisure centre while the kids (and Grandad I suspect) took their early afternoon nap.
We got a taxi back to The Inch that night and snuck in the door and up to the sanctum of our bedroom upstairs – not a peep from the floor below. We all slept soundly and next morning we headed over to the Club House for some early lunch before hitting the road for Kerry and Dublin.
All in all it was a lovely weekend away with the whole family which we all thoroughly enjoyed. I would highly recommend staying here if you have a few bob you are willing to spend on your family holiday this year and want to stay in Ireland but don’t want to scrimp on luxury (the prices are not cheap for The Inch but it really is worth every penny). It would also be a great alternative to staying in the Hotel if you were going to a wedding with other friends at Mount Juliet or were going golfing down there for a few days as there are 5 bedrooms, loads of bathrooms and a study that converts into another bedroom so between 12 of you it might be a nice treat. What’s really great about it is that is so much more sociable than being stuck in separate hotel rooms and having to meet up in the Hotel bar. Instead you could just do what we did, bring your own food and drink with you along with a few DVD’s to watch in the cinema!
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